Drug abuse is not an issue that is new to the GLBT community. While the proliferation of anti-drug campaigns now seems to numb rather than inform, Terry Oldes’s book Dancing With Tina provides a hauntingly real autobiography about crystal meth abuse.

The work is an honest memoir of crystal meth abuse within the gay community. The reader is invited to experience firsthand the ecstatic highs and pitiful lows of drug use. Each blissful moment and tragic consequence is experienced alongside Oldes.

Crystal meth looks and acts like a neurotransmitter and when the nerve cells absorb meth, the natural neurotransmitters are pushed out into the bloodstream. Meth releases 600 times the normal amount of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin into your body -” chemicals that make you feel happy -” so you really do feel like you’re on top of the world and can do anything, Oldes told the Sydney Star Observer.

Meth also forces your hunger, thirst and sleep mechanisms to shut down, so a person can stay up for days at a time, which of course will eventually take its toll. I forced myself to drink liquids because I was told by people I had to, but the natural thirst was not there and neither was any appetite. I lost 20 pounds in about a month and a half. They call it the Tina diet and it works.

With men, the libido goes into overdrive and, I’m being very honest, it could probably make a complete prude into a sex-starved aggressor. It’s not uncommon for a heavy meth user to have five or six individual hook-ups in one day, and we won’t even talk about the numbers if one goes to a bathhouse.

As with all drugs, Oldes said, What goes up, must come down, right? With crystal meth, the result is an overwhelming, devastating depression, often leading to suicidal thoughts, and is one of the worst things, in my opinion, about meth.

In his memoir, Oldes discusses the increased risk of catching HIV when on the drug. He explains that meth takes away that boundary of sense most people have and that unprotected sex becomes the norm.

Oldes said the drug appealed strongly to the gay community because of its letting-go element. Even though we live in a wonderfully liberating age now, we still aren’t free to hold hands everywhere in the world and many people still have their own inner self-esteem issues to deal with.

For further information on the book visit www.dancingwithtina.com or email Terry Oldes at dancingwithtina@yahoo.com.

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